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Trauma-Informed Care

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Trauma-informed care starts with understanding the sources of trauma that survivors of sexual assault experience. These sources include the trauma from the recent assault, trauma from previous experiences of abuse or violence, and historical trauma. This understanding can help programs support healing, acknowledge patients as whole people, and reduce re-traumatization. Providing trauma-informed care means evaluating all components of the program from the perspective of trauma survivors. It also requires recognizing that family and friends of survivors may be dealing with their previous experiences of trauma, which may impact their ability to provide support to the patient who is seeking care. For example, the mother of an adolescent victim may not have disclosed that she was a victim of sexual assault as a teenager. It may be hard for the mother to provide support for her daughter if she is re-experiencing her own assault. It is important to understand that trauma is common, and programs need to be prepared to recognize symptoms related to trauma and to provide care and support.